By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bruins Earn Way Into Rotary Championship Game
It happened so fast that all Grace Davis High varsity basketball players could do was watch in anguish.

Trailing by a point with 11 seconds left, Riverbank senior point guard Alex Reynaga took an inbound pass at his own end of the floor and quickly fed the ball to sophomore guard Rolaun Dunham along the east side of the court. Dunham crashed to the hoop in the final moments and sent up a desperation shot amidst a crowd of defenders. The ball caromed off the backboard and rim, but was instantly tipped back into the hoop by senior center Anthony Navarette for a game-winning put-back with one second to play.

The game-winning basket sent Riverbank's cheering section into a roar and ended a thrilling 52-51 contest in Bruin favor during the semifinal round of the 42nd Annual Oakdale Rotary Classic on Thursday night.

"I'd love to tell you that was my coaching genius, but really it was a broken play," Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. "The ball was supposed to be thrown to Anthony at half court for a pitch to Rolaun to break the press but it didn't happen.

"Fortunately we have got good players that make good plays and Anthony had the presence of mind to tip it in."

Navarette finished with 13 points for a team high in the semifinal win. Robert Martinez tallied 12 points while Dunham added 10. Markus Benson scored nine points while Kenny Veliz (four) and Reynaga (three) each contributed scores.

Davis and Riverbank were deadlocked after a 15-all first period, but eight Benson points propelled the Bruins to a 10-point advantage at the half. The Spartans closed to within three after the third period and claimed a three-point lead with over five minutes to play. Riverbank reclaimed the lead late in the fourth, but watched a clutch Davis layup give the Spartans a lead with only 11 seconds to play.

The ending sealed Riverbank's second straight narrow win in tourney play. The Bruins squeezed past returning Division V Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up, Ripon Christian during a 58-52 showdown on Dec. 28 in the bracket opener. The Bruins led 35-20 at the half, and struggled to fight off a Knights' comeback during a 10-16 third quarter disadvantage and a 16-13 RC rally in the fourth.

Dunham scored 24 points in the win while Veliz tallied 14. Reynaga added seven and Navarette four while Logan Nabors, Benson, and Martinez all tallied two points.

"Ripon Christian is no joke," Jennings said. "As of (Dec. 28) they had only lost to us and St. Mary's of Stockton. We put a lot of energy into our defense and a lot of teaching time in practice. Our offense is slowly getting better but we have been a little tentative in the third quarter and that is something we need to address."